Recently, the psychology department at Exeter University, working on behalf of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, released a study detailing how and why people fall victim to scams. Appeals to Trust and Authority – In the secret shopper scam, this is done by using the names of trusted mystery shopping companies, and well-known businesses such as Wal-Mart, Western Union, McDonald’s and others. Visceral Triggers – Scammers prey on basic human desires and needs to get an emotional response from their targeted victim. Scarcity – Many mail and e-mail scams appear to be personally directed to the recipient. The Promise of a Big Reward for a Small Cost - The mystery shopper check scam promises hundreds of dollars in return for work that they claim will take more no more than a couple of hours. Although many of the findings of the study were as to be expected, there were some surprises too. Spend more time analyzing the scam then non-victims – This may reflect the fact that people who do not fall victim to the scam it immediately recognize it as a scam and give little or no thought to it.
Recognize that there is something wrong with the offer and they are taking a gamble – Often, though, the size of the promised reward causes them to ignore the little voice in their heads and take a chance that it is in fact legitimate.
Do not discuss the scam offer with others – Perhaps this is because they intuitively know that there is something wrong with the offer, and they do not wish to risk someone else pointing out the flaws in the offer to them.
I was at the bank doing some personal banking when my mystery shopper ears went on high alert. I overheard all this, naturally curious and knowing, I waited outside for her to leave and questioned her about it. The bank refused to cash the check and told her it was a scam, the same way we know to recognize a scam, not sending money to receive money. During the course of our brief conversation, she mentioned that she thought about doing mystery shopping, because the company she works for gets shopped. If you received a check or money order with instructions to cash it and wire money to someone, DON'T DO IT! Legitimate mystery shoppers act as anonymous quality control for companies, but scammers try to recruit people for a fee. The good news is that mystery shopping is an actual job a€” there are many reputable mystery shopping companies who employ people to anonymously evaluate stores, restaurants and other businesses by acting as a customer.
Police warn that ads online offering work as a 'secret' or 'mystery' shopper are often scams.
The victim gets a phone call from a major computer company offering to fix a virus on the victim's computer. The victim, who is often elderly, is sent an email saying they have won a lottery, but they are told they need to send money before they can claim their prize. When the victim tries to use the ticket to enter the event they are denied entry because the ticket has been bought with a stolen credit card by the fraudster, and cancelled by the original company once they discover the fraud.
Police recommend only buying tickets from established ticket resellers and only to using a credit card to buy them so you can cancel the payment if the tickets are invalid.
Type 1 - The victim, often an elderly person, gets a call from some saying they are their grandson or another family member, and they are in trouble overseas and desperately need money to get home. But victim later discovers the grandchild is fine and was never in trouble, and it was just an imposter who got their phone number by digging through their garbage.
Type 2 - The scammer gains access to the victim's email or Facebook account and sends a distress email to all of the victim's email contacts. The email states that the victim is in distress in a foreign country and to keep the information confidential.
Police recommend you don't put personal information in the garbage and protect your passwords online.
In this scam the victim appears to find a great deal on a rental property and meets with the landlord online or in a coffee shop to close the deal. After paying a damage deposit in cash or by wire service, when the victim tries to move in, they discover the landlord was a fake and somebody else might even be living in the home. Police recommend you inspect all property in person and ask the landlord for photo identification, and pay with a post-dated personal cheque. In this scam the victim posts an ad online to sell an item, often a popular valuable electronic item.
But the scammer pays for it with counterfeit currency and takes off before the victim notices the fraud.
Police say watch out for fake money when selling electronic items such as iPhones, Xboxes or PlayStations, and know at least three security features to ensure bills are not fake. But when the bank determines the cheque was a fake, the victim is charged for the money they sent the scammer.
This well-known scam is also known as the 419 scam after Section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code that prohibits this activity.
The victim gets an email that appears to be from their bank asking them to open an attachment and enter their bank information in order to protect or verify their account. Police warn no bank will email you regarding security issues and any requests should be deleted and ignored.
In this scam, someone knocks on the victim's door claiming to be collecting for a charity or claiming to be a fire or building inspector.
Police say real charities and inspectors don't collect money door to door and you should lock the door and call police if anyone suspicious comes knocking asking for money.
We would like to remind consumers about the Western Union Wire Transfer fake check scams that have beenA attached to the mystery shopping industry for several years.
Service Excellence Group does not send cashier checks to independent contractors as payment for mystery shops or compliance engagements.
Service Excellence Group does not issue certified checks for independent contractors to use during engagements.
Be cautious of any job posting claiming to send you large sums of money for a mystery shopping assignment.A  The average compensation for a standard mystery shopping assignment is $15. Avoid completing any forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information. Always review the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they match and if they lead you to a legitimate website.A  If the link does link you to a legitimate website, send the company an email to confirm the legitimacy of the opportunity. It is inevitable that the scammers will continue to change names, so please remember, any check sent to you by anyone claiming to represent Service Excellence Group is a scam. Persons interested in legitimate mystery shopping may visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website for information about ethical, legitimate mystery shopping companies. If you have fallen victim to this scam, or if you have been contacted by any of these scammers, please file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As families move away from traditional home-based dining, fast casual or quick service restaurants need to be on top of their game and striving to hit a€?customer service home runs.a€? A Quality teams that deliver stellar customer experiences build business success.
With the surge of cell phones and mobile apps there has been an increase in carry-out ordering which takes the a€?human toucha€? out of the process.
Aside from keeping quality products coming out of your kitchen, maintaining a fresh and clean environment shows customers just how much you care about your restaurant and the proper production of the food you serve. Customers inevitably ask questions relating to any and all aspects of your restaurant, and your employees should be able to answer them with confidence and ease.
While mystery shopping and customer surveys both provide a certain amount of feedback to your company, there is a difference in how the two operate and the functions they provide for your business. Developing mass customer surveys enable you to reach out to the general population of your consumers and receive basic feedback. Customer surveys or feedback may generate responses that address certain areas, leaving others at the wayside. It really should be no surprise that regular, everyday customers mostly provide feedback when their experience is disrupted by any negativity. Of course, you can get feedback many different ways, but if youa€™re planning on really evaluating your businessa€™ operations through the eyes of a customer, sending mystery shoppers will allow you to do just that.
These individuals are always on and always consuming content and information straight from their mobile device. Because todaya€™s media landscape is more diverse than ever before, market research consultants are using more innovative strategies to truly listen to the needs of consumers. Once insights and best practices are gained through both research consultants and mystery shoppers, they can be infused into the overall culture of your company. Service Excellence Group is a mystery shopper company providing solutions to help you gain insight into your company both in-store, out and online. A company that consistently exceeds customer expectations understands that an award winning service culture creates customer loyalty. Leta€™s take a look at four different types of customer service and tips foreffective customer satisfaction measurement. The fact is, in order to create and keep business, meeting your customersa€™ expectations is a minimum requirement.
Once youa€™ve effectively met your customersa€™ expectations, you can begin to gain their trust and loyalty through customer experience enhancement. Implementing customer service techniques that exceed the expectation of your customers can be as simple as following up with customers after a purchase or after a visit via phone or email survey.
The next step of customer experience enhancement involves trying to reach customers on an emotional level. When you take the time and implement programs that help you delight your customers, youa€™ll be well on your way to a successful business.
One of the best ways to find out what your customers need from you is to truly listen to what they have to say. Mystery shopping companies contract with individuals to deliver the objective feedback you need to decide if you are meeting expectations, exceeding or completely delighting your customers on a regular basis.
Service Excellence Group is an effective customer satisfaction measurement and solutions provider putting a focus on performance management and customer intelligence.
With so many companies focusing on new customer acquisition, we sometimes tend to forget to put our best efforts toward retaining loyal shoppers through customer service. Mystery shopping services allow you to witness if you are successfully executing your processes and protocol and to understand how your customera€™s perceive your service delivery strategies.
By focusing on retaining your current customers, instead of focusing all of your efforts on bringing in new consumers, you can increase revenue. With audio and video recordings, you can actually listen, watch and learn as mystery shoppers conduct their undercover work.
Implementing mystery shopping into your customer experience management program can help you gain insight into your company and provide actionable feedback. Consumers are constantly receiving emails from companies every day, informing them of their newest clothing line or promotion.
Whether because of boredom, cost restraints or a lack of products, some consumers managed to forget about your brand.
In todaya€™s competitive market, companies are beginning to develop more innovative ways to enhance the customer experience.

Sensors: The app uses location sensors placed strategically throughout the store that automatically prompt Neiman Marcus Service to act.
Interaction: The app allows customers to mark products as their a€?favoritea€? and send that information to their preferred sales associates. Neiman Marcus has really raised the bar for customer satisfaction management and has shown what it takes to go above and beyond when creating a better experience for customers.
More consumers than ever before are using smartphones in-store prior to making a final purchase. Also, if youa€™ve recently developed a mobile-friendly website or just arena€™t getting the results you wanted from your current site, mystery shoppers have the capability to provide feedback for the on-line user experience. Developing more tech-savvy tools for your customers isna€™t just about keeping up with the latest in digital technology; ita€™s about creating better and more innovative ways of listening.
Before developing a new piece of technology, get to know your customers and what they really want through feedback programs. In todaya€™s digital world, customer experience no longer only exists in-store or through print advertisements. Simply adding an FAQ section to your website with periodic updates can help your customers immensely.
Along with keeping updated information through social media, ita€™s also important to manage customer questions.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get in contact with a brand but not being able to find any contact information. You may have a great website, and a good following on social media, but without listening to your customers and finding out what they really think about your business, youa€™re no closer to succeeding in customer experience management.A  There are many online tools you can utilize to better understand the needs of your customers. Try providing surveys where consumers can easily share their opinion, along with a page within your website where consumers can openly share their thoughts about anything a€“ your service, products, etc. Brand service audits can measure how successfully new processes have been put into place and give you real data to eliminate problem areas.
Recently, wea€™ve been seeing a shift toward a more digital, specifically mobile, environment in the world of consumers.
Leta€™s look at the research findings and how you can optimize for more effective customer experience management.
According to a study conducted by Pew Research one month prior to and following Christmas, 35% of consumers actually purchased products they found using their mobile phones in-store, while 19% purchased products from an online retailer and 8% from a different retailer. When it comes to optimizing for the newly mobile environment, it may help to take a look at Target, a company who stumbled at first, but is now making waves in the digital realm.
Initially, Target created a banner ad campaign built for both mobile and desktop computers. If you have an online presence like a website, company Facebook page or Twitter account, you are inadvertently involved in a mobile marketing campaign. As Target demonstrated, mobile is beginning to play a key role in your customer experience management initiatives.
Optimize: Optimizing your online store for mobile usage means to make it easier to use for consumers. While there are many approaches to building a successful brand, making strategic customer service decisions is imperative for a companya€™s image.
After performing an evaluation in customer service, your company should set a plan in motion to seamlessly integrate strong customer service values into your brand throughout every department.
A holistic approach to improving customer service starts with employees genuinely caring about and listening to your customers. Many scams, including the secret shopper scam, convince the recipients that large sums of money await them.
They make it sound as though you were “chosen” out of many other people for this opportunity. Scammers who will steal thousands of dollars from you will lie about who they are, and what organizations they are affiliated with. I was at the teller window when a customer came in to speak to a personal banker about a check she had received asking her to cash it and send them the money. There are folks who'd love nothing more than to earn their keep by stuffing envelopes on the couch or sending chain letters from their home office, and some of us are just born to shop. Once the victim logs on to a website, the screen goes black and the scammer, who is often based in India, charges the victim $150 to make the computer work again. The scammer also tells the victim to wire them the money, but not to tell anyone, because they want to keep the situation secret. As in the first type, the victim is asked to wire money to the foreign country, later discovering their friend was never in trouble. The fake employer sends them a bank cheque and asks them to cash it, keep some for themselves and wire the rest back to test out a service such as Western Union. The victim gets a letter from an official in a foreign country asking for help getting a large amount of money out their country in exchange for a share of the loot. But the message is a clever fake and the scammer uses the information to access the victim's bank accounts. Many consumers have received checks in the mail along with a letter utilizing the Service Excellence Group logo, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association logo (MSPA), the Better Business logo (BBB), and the National Speaker Association logo (NSA) on their communication. A A reputable mystery shopping firm will capture your contact information via a company reporting platform.
They will then communicate with individuals using email addresses from public domains such as Yahoo, Gmail, MSN or AOL. To register your interest to mystery shop for Service Excellence Group, Inc., please visit the Shoppera€™s Headquarters tab above for complete details. So what attributes and aspects of the service experience do managers and supervisors need to tout and reinforce in order to satisfy customers and ensure their return? Panera was one of the trend-setters in the a€?You Pick 2a€? concept.A  Not only does it allow customers to quickly place their order, but it also shortens the time involved in processing an order. This means that when the customer does walk in the store the teams that ramp up the care factor and speed of service will shorten the wait time and improve the service experience.
Consumers have become increasingly interested in niche restaurants that specialize in specific foods such as made from scratch pizzas, cupcakes, yogurt, and sushi. When you keep your restaurant tidy and clean, youa€™re extending a natural invitation to current and potential customers that is hard for anyone to pass up. Nothing can be more frustrating to customers than receiving vague, unclear answers when asking about the preparation process of the food they ordered. This allows you to see big-picture attitudes towards general issues like customer service, products, and overall experiences.
When mystery shoppers enter your business, they can go through an extensive list of things you wish to seek information about. For the most part, customers will not go out of their way to provide positive feedback, but they certainly will tell you if youa€™ve done something to upset them.
Since the onset of the digital age, there have been changes occurring year after year for retailers everywhere, making it difficult at times to keep up.
With Internet access from anywhere, they continue to frequent the web in small portions, both in store and out.
Theya€™re defined by their connectedness and sense of empowerment that comes with the constant availability of information online. One important way is to really get to know your on-line customers through market research consultants that measure the service experience. Strategically plan on how to best listen to what your consumers are saying, A determine what sampling method will best define the attributes that influence customer perceptions, A begin the research and data collection process and view the feedback with an open mind . Providing an outside perspective of your business, they are fully trained to decipher what is and isna€™t working within your company.
As your customersa€™ expectations change a€“ whether because of a new digital tool or mobile application a€“ a mystery shopper company can help you reevaluate your business, and keep you one step ahead in the ever-changing climate. Learn more about how market research consultants can help you develop a better understanding of the market and develop sustainable success. Grabbing and holding the attention of your customers requires an indescribable level of dedication. If you are unable to meet even the most basic needs of your customers, ita€™s likely theya€™ll switch to a competitor offering what they need. Showing that you have a genuine consideration for your customer is key to developing a good relationship and building loyalty.
Creating an emotional experience for your customers will make it difficult for your competitors to grab their attention. Your customers should be able to trust that you will strive to truly amaze them every time they interact with your brand.
What follows are recommendations that can help you test and gain actionable results to better your customersa€™ overall experience and foster loyalty.
They have an opinion about your business and theya€™re just waiting for an opportunity to share it. The results gained from a mystery shopper being the eyes and ears of your company will be able to better your customersa€™ experience. Take a look at our various services that can help your company throughA customer experience enhancement. These recordings give you tangible results that allow you and your team to gain internal performance insight. Mystery shopping combined with a few other tactics can have an even bigger impact on your overall customer retention program.
This means you are in constant competition with the plethora of newsletters flooding their inbox.
The best thing you can do for your company is find out what went wrong, what it will take to bring them back, and how to prevent this from happening in the future. Find out more about our services including mystery shopping, customer feedback, research and brand audits that can aid your current customer retention program. Developing customer satisfaction management guidelines that consistently align with your vision and your customersa€™ expectations is necessary for sustainable success. The customer is also alerted of current promotions, product arrivals, fashion trends and even which of their preferred sales associates are currently in the store. Ita€™s important that your website has a mobile-friendly version that consumers can use to find product information while browsing your store. For example, Neiman Marcus didna€™t create this new app for fun, they did it to really get to know and help their customers, and all while building stronger relationships. Then, offer your employees customer service training for retail and interactive a€“ especially if you are implementing a new piece of technology. Through our innovative programs, we can help you develop effective customer satisfaction management and offer intellectual and resourceful answers to give you a competitive edge with a better understanding of your brand image.
With the growing number of consumers using smart phones and engaging with brandsa€™ social pages, providing your customers with impeccable online customer experienceA management has become just as important a€“ both on your company website and your social media platforms.

Knowing that you are genuinely listening to their questions and adding them to the section lets them know you care about their satisfaction a€“ and in turn can help you build loyalty. Where your business is located, along with a customer service line to encourage communication (whether through a phone call or email), should be easy to find on your website.
Here, you can ask questions and allow others to respond and provide feedback a€“ helping to foster an online community. There are quite a few customer experience management solutions that can provide you with actionable results, such as audits, mystery shoppers and brand research. Also, hiring a mystery shopping company can help you gain objective insight into the total experience.
Through our innovative programs, we can help you succeed in online customer experienceA  management and offer intellectual and resourceful answers to give you a competitive edge with a better understanding of your brand image. An increasing number of consumers are using their phones or tablets in-store to check product information and prices. However, when a user clicked on the mobile banner ad, they were directed to the Target website on their mobile phone.
Consumers are not only using mobile, but they are beginning to expect that every retailer website can be accessed via mobile phone. Try hiring a mystery shopping company that can deliver research with actionable results in terms of your mobile site. The good news is, there are steps you can take toward optimizing for the newly mobile environment.
Digital agencies can help you review, analyze results and answer important questions like a€?Are people using my mobile site?a€? and a€?Which pages are they going to most?a€?. Customer experience management programs and strategies play a large role in growing and retaining customers. This holistic approach is about customers, as well as, employees experiencing these values on a day-to-day basis.
Creating an atmosphere where customers never question the sincerity of your team is in the inherent culture of your business a€“ a company that is genuine and sincere by nature. The victim receives a large check and they are instructed to cash it and wire most of the money to someone, usually in Canada. Once the victim has taken an initial step, no matter how small, it becomes easier for them to take the next step and the next.
Do not assume that because they use the names of trusted organizations they have any association with those companies. For example, a search for “mystery shopper check” turns up dozens, if not hundreds, of warnings describing exactly how the scam operates. I made them wait until the checks cleared, which was a week, then I was going to send the money out and the bank stated the checks were bogus. Start out each customer engagement with a warm and caring welcome because regardless of how good the food is or how great the restaurant looks it is an exemplary employee attitude that can position your restaurant as the dining establishment of choice. A well informed team plus an easy to read menu will also benefit from an operational perspective because customers can be quickly informed about menu selections. Another emerging trend is the use of healthy and organic foods with limited trans fats, and less salt. When customers know that their food is prepared in proper conditions they feel comfortable and are sure to return. When you hire employees, it is a good idea to set up an orientation process that will ensure they know the ins and outs of the business. Keep your establishment clean and stocked with quality products, and make sure to keep your employees informed about new products and promotions so that they can answer questions from customers. For the most part, this kind of feedback provides customer sentiments that are relatively devoid of detail. This takes feedback to another level as you inquire not only about customer service and product quality but also on other areas like store presentation, uniforms, branding, and even the general atmosphere of the business.
While this is unfortunate, there are still ways to receive feedback about the positive things your company is doing day-to-day. This service would be beneficial to implement as part of your customer experience measurement. With the rise of the a€?Smartphone Class,a€? mystery shoppers are now putting more of a focus on the digital side of your business, meaning they may utilize your mobile website while looking for products and determine what can make the user experience better. It begins by really listening to the needs of your customer, then executing a company-wide campaign that settles for nothing less than delighting them.A  It involves going above and beyond through customer experience enhancement. It takes more than meeting or exceeding standards on a regular basis, your customers should know what to expect with each interaction with your brand, and as mentioned earlier, that means delighting them on a regular basis. When developed and utilized correctly, customer satisfaction surveys can be a truly honest look into the needs of your customers.
Chamber of Commerce, 68% of customers leave because they are upset with the service theya€™ve received in-store.
Typically, when a customer is dissatisfied with a business, instead of complaining on the customer service line, theya€™ll tell a friend, portraying that brand in a bad light through word of mouth and never returning to the store. Also, include QR codes throughout your store for customer satisfaction surveys and for other sales promotions. Hiring mystery shoppers is one research tool that can help you create a better customer experience. Find out more about our helpful feedback programs, brand audits, research and customer service training for retail.
If you do seem to be getting many of the same questions via social media, add these to your FAQ page. Combine surveys and service audits with mystery shoppers to gain actionable results and truly succeed in online customer service. Find out more about our helpful feedback programs, brand service audits and research tools. Because of this, you may need to reevaluate and update your current customer experience management program to stay up to date with the changes.
The problem wasna€™t that it linked to the website a€“ but that the website wasna€™t optimized for a mobile-sized screen.
At Service Excellence Group, we offer mystery shopping services that allows you not only to gain insight into effective customer satisfaction management in-store, but via mobile devices as well.
Instead of just having your website open up in a tiny mobile-sized window, hire a digital agency to help design a mobile-friendly interface. Another way of testing is to do simple surveys to determine consumersa€™ thoughts and hire mystery shoppers to test the experience firsthand. However, when enacting customer acquisition and retention initiatives, ita€™s important to see the big picture. This doesna€™t happen by only enforcing a week long training program, but takes an extensive evaluation in customer service, research, daily practice and customer acquisition and retention initiatives that are grounded and immersed in core values. Although this is a common scam, mystery shopper scams represent a small percentage of the fraud perpetrated. The scam artists take the names of reputable companies in an attempt to fool unsuspecting consumers into cashing these fake checks.
No matter A  A  A  how well you present and manage your restaurant, quality products are the backbone of any fast casual dining experience. Dona€™t skimp on any areas of the restaurant: clean your dining area, clean your bathrooms, clean your kitchen. This orientation can also include information on the history of your restaurant and information about your brand.
Keep up with the perception of your business by distributing customer surveys, and, if youa€™re really curious, work with a mystery shopping provider to ensure that your team is up to snuff. While prompting customers with simple feedback requests is truly valuable, they cannot provide the detailed feedback you need regarding the specifics of your business. For every business, your mission is to maintain exceptional customer experience and build your service delivery and culture. This is another instance in which mystery shoppers can help you define not only the things your business can improve on, but the areas in which you are doing exceptionally well. Ita€™s no wonder that more and more consumers are beginning to use their mobile devices in store to assure theya€™re getting a product that can successfully meet their needs. And, once you know what those needs are, you can begin to exceed expectations and amaze on a regular basis.
Services provided by mystery shopping companies can help you improve the overall customer experience, helping turn prospective and a€?sometimesa€? customers into a€?brand loyalists.a€? Leta€™s take a deeper look into the role of mystery shopping companies.
Services such as mystery shopping companies can identify what is and isna€™t working with your current customer base. In store, mystery shoppers can ask the right questions, listen objectively, and provide results that will help managers develop customer service training for retail and other in-store improvements. Focusing on the mobile user experience, both in-store and out, is now an extremely large part of effective customer satisfaction management. It was the exact same website that would appear on the desktop computer, making the buttons difficult to read and click. Other types of scams include lottery and sweepstakes scams, financial investment scams and other versions of the cashiers check scam. Create cleaning routines for opening and closing, and make sure you clean as you go throughout the day.
Bringing mystery shoppers into your business can provide more in-depth results, allowing you to really pinpoint areas for improvement. This is one great reason why businesses are beginning to do their best to make sure customers can easily maneuver their way through a fully-functional mobile website. In order to better their customersa€™ in-store experience, they are currently testing a new user-friendly social, local and mobile (SoLoMo) app that includes a specific interface for both customers and employees. Also be wary of companies that claim to pay by the hour (mystery shoppers get paid by the job) or advertise full-time positions (it's always a part-time job).
Your employees should be knowledgeable about the menu your establishment is providinga€” what ingredients are used, how dishes are cooked, possible allergens in each producta€”in order to properly and confidently answer any questions a customer might have. Or, better yet, skip the guesswork and check them out with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.
Hold mini-orientations or check-in meetings whenever a new product or promotion is in the works to prep your employees and make sure they can upsell.

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